• natural history;
  • renal cell carcinoma;
  • non-cancer-related mortality;
  • cancer-specific mortality


To examine cancer-specific and non-cancer-related mortality rates in 451 patients with T1a–bN0M0 renal cell carcinoma (RCC) treated with either radical or partial nephrectomy (RN or PN) in Europe.


Between 1987 and 2007, 451 patients with T1a–bN0M0 RCC were treated for histologically confirmed RCC with RN or PN at one of seven participating European institutions. The preoperative American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) score was available for all patients and was used to control for baseline comorbidities. The preoperative glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was estimated using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease study group equation. We used univariate and multivariate competing-risks regression analyses to test the effect of the ASA score, GFR, T stage (T1a vs T1b) and nephrectomy type (RN or PN) on RCC-specific mortality and non-RCC-related mortality.


In patients with T1a–b RCC cancer- specific mortality was unaffected by stage, nephrectomy type or GFR. Conversely, non-RCC-related mortality was strongly affected by the ASA score and GFR. Unlike in a previous report, nephrectomy type did not affect non-RCC-related mortality. This lack of significance relative to RN may stem from the relatively high rate of PN use in the present series.


PN or RN virtually eliminate the risk of cancer-specific mortality in patients with T1a–b RCC. Poor preoperative ASA score and impaired renal function appear to represent relative contra-indications to surgical management of T1a–b lesions.